What is eczema?
The term ‘eczema’ is used for a group of conditions that show a similar pattern of changes in the skin, giving rise to specific changes on the surface. The word itself comes from the Greek and means ‘to boil or flow out’ – anyone who has had acute eczema will understand how appropriate this is.
In acute eczema, intense inflammation leads to the formation of little blisters (vesicles) in the skin, which soon burst or are scratched open, leading to weeping and the ‘flowing out’ of fluid. Even if there are no vesicles, a section of skin affected by eczema looked at under microscope shows fluid between the skin cells, tending to push them apart. This produces an appearance reminiscent of a sponge- hence the term ‘spongiosis’ that is used by doctors. All the different conditions called eczema would be expected to show this spongiosis, together with some degree of inflammation around some superficial blood vessels, which are dilated, producing the hot, red feeling and appearance.
Clinical features of eczema
- Weeping and crusting
- Blistering-usually with vesicles but, in fierce cases, with large blisters
- Redness, papules and swelling- usually with an ill,-defined border
- Less vesicular and exudative
- More scaly, pigmented and thickened
- More likely to show lichenification- a dry leathery thickened state, with increased skin markings, secondary to repeated scratching or rubbing; and
- More likely to fissure
Causes of eczema
- House dust mites
- Animal dander
- Certain foods (e.g., milk, nuts)
- Certain fabrics
- Soaps, cosmetics, perfumes
- Detergents and other cleaning fluids
- Some people report that emotional stress can also make their eczema symptoms flare up.
Myths about eczema
- Frequent bathing of the affected areas is helpful and soothing – frequent bathing and long, hot showers should be avoided: moisturizing preparation instead of soaps should be used and moisturizers also applied liberally after bathing should be helpful.
- Eczema is contagious – eczema is not contagious, and one can’t acquire the condition by coming in to contact with eczema suffers or their belongings.
- Only children get eczema – although it is common in children. The condition is often seen later in life.
Homeopathic treatment of eczema
The core wisdom of the body is to push illness from a more vital to less important tissue. Thus, though eczema is a completely curable condition, this often requires professional, constitutional prescribing. Simultaneously clearing up associated allergies or overall immune weakness, If eczema co-exists or alternates with asthma or hay fever, merely treating the skin will not resolve the whole syndrome, Nonetheless, the remedies listed here can give considerable relief, and in fact are the ones most commonly used to cure eczema on the deepest level. Sulphur is often indicated if there has been suppression by various ointments. Sulphur and other remedies can also cause skin “aggravations”- the condition gets worst first as part of the cure. Calendula is the best and usually only medicine that should be used to soothe itchy, chaffed or broken skin.
Following remedies are important in the path of homeopathic treatment of eczema
- Intense itching. Turns to burning when scratches till raw; when burning stops, itching returns. Skin dry as paper. Flaking. Pussy. Small vesicles.
- Eczema worst on uncovered parts or areas. Chilly, weakness. Sips cold water.
- Restless. Anxious, worried about health, death, security, picky, miserly.
- Worse: after midnight, cold air or bath, wet; better: hot bathing, warm room.
- Red itching pimples; oozing of honey like liquid, which crusts over.
- Infects and scars easily, heals slowly. Overweight, sweaty, constipated.
- Scalp. Hairline, behind ears, genitals, back of hands, palms, skin folds.
- Thickened skin. Deep cracks in fingers, heels, etc. nails thick. Grooved.
- Worse: night, menses, heat (though chilly). Better: cold application.
- Violent itching; smarting, crawling, but parts feels cold, as if cool breeze.
- Acrid oozing, forms hard, thick crusts with pus under them or white scabs, matting the hair. Intense burning after scratching. Eczema after vaccines.
- Scalp, margins of hair, face, lids, eyebrows, hands and feet, cracked lips.
- Worse: night, heat of bed or bath, drafts, damp, touch. Better: open air.
- Small itchy blisters with corrosive fluid; skin becomes red, raw, inflamed.
- Margins of hair; bends of joints, behind ears. Dry flaky crusts form after.
- Craves salt, thirsty. Greasy, oily hair. Dry skin in general. Underweight.
- Eczema from suppressed emotion, inner grief. Avoids consolation, fuss.
- Worse: warmth, salt, seashore, And menses, better: cool weather or bathing.
- Red, raw, moist surface: burning and itching: oozing after scratching.
- Deep cracks in folds, fingers. Bleed easily, become infected. Ulcerations.
- Eruption of the palms, fingerprints, bends of joints, behind ears, genitals.
- Itching, scratches until it bleed; the part becomes cold after scratching.
- Worse: winter, cold air, moving vehicles, night. Better: warm air, dryness.
- Moist, weeping eruptions, foul odor. Intensely itchy; scratches till it bleeds, causing burning. Skin bleeds easily. Dry, scaly, cracked areas.
- Unhealthy skin, pimples, easily infected. Burning hot feet at night.
- Hair margins, face, areas of perspiration, feet, bends of elbows, knee.
- Intellectual dreamer. Lethargic, unmotivated. Tired and always hungry
- Worse: night, warmth of bed, heat, bathing, wool. Better: dry, cool bathing.
- Tim Mitchell, Alison Hepplewhite; Eczema 2005; 7.
- Richard P. j. b. Weller, J. A. A. Hunter, Mark V. Dahl; Clinical Dermatology 2008; 81.
- Rebecca Fox-Spencer, Tim Mitchell; Eczema 2006; 24.
- Asa Hershoff; Homeopathic Remedies; 152-153.